When using dowels, select a size half the thickness of the wood being joined. For example, for 3/4-in. stock, consider 3/8-in. dowels.; for 7/8-in. stock use 7/16-in. dowels. The length inserted should generally be three times its thickness. Thus, a 3/8-in. dowel should be about 2-1/2 in. long to penetrate into each member 1-1/4 in.
You can use your garden hose to help lay out the borders of curved areas for gardens, flower beds, paths or small ponds. Just lay the hose along the proposed edge, check it for position, then mark out the curve by using a garden spade along the edge of the hose.